The supply of Russian gas to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been halted for an indefinite period, due to problems in a key piece of equipment, Russia`s largest gas producer Gazprom said on Friday.
After completion of three days of maintenance work, gas was due to begin flowing through the pipeline again on Saturday morning, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, after a leak was detected during the work, Gazprom said on Friday night that since the safe operation of the last remaining gas turbine could not be guaranteed, the pipeline must therefore be shut down “until all equipment faults have been rectified”.
It was not specified how long this would take.
According to Gazprom, it had received a warning from Russia`s state technology and ecology watchdog Rostekhnadzor concerning the fact that the detected malfunctions “do not allow for the safe trouble-free operation of the gas turbine engine”.
European Commission Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer accused Gazprom of stopping the flow of gas on false pretenses.
Following Gazprom`s announcement of the extended supply freeze, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) emphasized the importance of Germany`s precautionary measures.
“The situation on the gas market is tense, but security of supply is guaranteed,” a spokeswoman from the Ministry said on Friday night, adding that the ministry is implementing measures to strengthen independence from Russian energy imports.
BMWK said that Germany`s gas storage facilities are currently 84.3 per cent full, and the country is expected to hit the October target of storing 85 per cent in early September.